Watch on the Rhine

Watch on the Rhine

Watch on the Rhine is a 1943 American drama film directed by Herman Shumlin and starring Bette Davis and Paul Lukas. The screenplay by Dashiell Hammett is based on the 1941 play Watch on the Rhine by Lillian Hellman. Watch on the Rhine was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture and Paul Lukas won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance as Kurt Muller, a German-born anti-fascist in this film.


In 1940, German engineer Kurt Muller, his American wife Sara, and their children Joshua, Babette, and Bodo cross the Mexican border into the United States to visit Sara's brother David Farrelly and their mother Fanny in Washington, D.C. For the past 17 years, the Muller family has lived in Europe, where Kurt responded to the rise of Nazism by engaging in anti-fascist activities. Sara tells her family they are seeking peaceful sanctuary on American soil, but their quest is threatened by the presence of house guest Teck de Brancovis, an opportunistic Romanian count who has been conspiring with the German Embassy. Teck, married to the younger Marthe, tries to force her to learn more about the Mullers. She and David are attracted to each other and she finds her husband's politics horrendous.